Chinnapong

Starting Jan. 1, the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) will accredit continuing education courses in-house instead of using a third party, the regulator said in a release on Monday.

Currently, the regulator has an agreement with the Continuing Education Course Accreditation Process Centre (CECAP) to provide accreditation of continuing education (CE) courses.

A review of the accreditation process found that CE accreditation could be provided at cost to dealer members, the regulator said.

“Directly providing CE accreditation services will enhance service, quality control and transparency while offering a lower fee,” said Elsa Renzella, IIROC’s senior vice-president of enforcement, registration and enterprise risk, in the release.

“IIROC reviewed best practices across several regulated sectors and found that regulators and professional standards bodies commonly perform continuing education course accreditation in-house using methods that suit their membership.”

IIROC’s accreditation relationship with CECAP will end with the current two-year CE cycle on Dec. 31.

CECAP charges $585 for a single-credit course (plus taxes), which comprises a $375 application fee and $210 assessment fee.

For the CE cycle beginning on Jan. 1, IIROC will set a flat application fee of $300 per course (plus taxes) for accreditation, the regulator said in a notice. The fee is calculated on a cost recovery basis and may be re-evaluated for future CE cycles, it said.

As of Nov. 1, course providers may apply to IIROC for accreditation for the upcoming CE cycle.

IIROC-registered representatives must earn 30 CE credits (including compliance and professional development topics) during each two-year CE cycle. No changes to IIROC’s CE rules have been proposed at this time, the regulator said.

Some education providers have criticized CECAP accreditation. CECAP is administered by the Canadian Securities Institute (CSI), a course provider, and both CECAP and CSI are owned by Toronto-based Moody’s Analytics Global Education (Canada) Inc.

John Waldron, founder of course provider Learnedly, called for broad accreditation reform in light of potential conflicts and lack of CE harmonization in a letter to the Canadian Securities Administrators in July.

“Course providers must obtain accreditation from multiple accreditation bodies in order to meet the education demands of today’s advisor,” Waldron wrote, referring to advisors who have more than one license or designation.

This lack of integration discourages advisors from pursuing multiple licences and maintaining designations in good standing, the letter said, and the cost of accreditation “makes creating content more expensive for educators, limiting an advisor’s choice of education.”

To meet IIROC course accreditation, course providers must demonstrate how a course builds on licensing proficiencies, provide the credentials of those who developed the CE, and describe the control measures that ensure advisors are present and actively learning, among other requirements.

Newcom Media Inc., owner of Advisor’s Edge, also owns CE Corner, which provides CE material for IIROC registrants and others.